Step Three

Theory and Hazard Perception Test

pg_a_4The Theory and Hazard Perception Tests are taken at the same time and you must achieve the required marks in both to pass. The test is taken at designated Test Centres, locally these are situated at Barnstaple, Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance, Taunton or Truro. Click here for full colour location maps and directions.

We recommend that you take your Theory Test as early as possible once you have decided to learn to drive. The reason for this is so that you can put the theoretical skills learnt in the Theory Test into practice when learning to drive.

You do not have to pass your Theory Test prior to learning to drive, but you do need to pass it to book a Practical Driving Test.

The Theory Test is a timed test of 40 minutes duration. You will be asked 35 questions taken randomly from a bank of approximately 1,000 questions based on the Highway Code. You must get 30 or more correct to pass.

The test is taken by touch screen computer (which is explained for 15 minutes prior to starting) in individual booths so that other candidates cannot distract you. There is no option to take it as a written test. You are allowed to use pen and paper to assist you during the test, but you are not allowed to take notes or learning materials into the test.

You can request the use of headphones when you book so that you can listen to both the questions and answers as well as read them. We recommend this to all candidates as it gives you a better chance to understand both the question and answer as well as governing the time in which you answer the questions.

It is so easy to misread a question and therefore pick the wrong answer, particularly when you are a bit nervous, for example ‘What must you not do?’ can easily be read as, ‘What must you do?’ And likewise it is easy to misread an answer, for example ‘Maximum speed limit applies’ as opposed to ‘Minimum speed limit applies.’ Mistakes like these are caused by quickly scanning the questions and answers.

Think road safety, if you are unsure look for the safe answer, understand the basics of road signs, for example red circles mean DO NOT DO (insert red circle image), blue circles mean DO DO (insert blue circle image), red triangles mean WARNING OR HAZARD (insert red triangle image).

If you are still unsure eliminate the wrong answers first, ask yourself why they would be wrong and look for the logical safe answer.

You will have the opportunity to go back and check your answers and to ‘flag’ any you want to revisit later in the test.

There is no easy way in which to learn the answers, repeat learning is the only proven method for success.

The Hazard Perception Test was introduced in 2002 as part of a Government initiative to reduce the number of road accidents, particularly involving young or inexperienced drivers. It is a proven fact that new drivers are involved in more accidents than experienced drivers, this is because new drivers do not see or react to hazards early enough. They can take up to two seconds longer to react to a dangerous situation than an experienced driver.

The Hazard Perception Test is also a timed test of 15 minutes duration. You will be tested on 14 film clips randomly selected from 200 different clips simulating the view that a car driver would have as he drives on the road.

Each clip lasts 1 minute and may include up to 6 potential hazards. The aim is to identify the potential hazards as they develop and before they turn into dangerous situations by clicking the mouse at the point when you first see them. Out of a potential 75 points, you must obtain 44 points to pass.

A five second ‘window’ will open at the point where you should first see the potential hazard. You will be awarded five points for clicking at the beginning of the window reducing to one point at the end of the window. As you see a potential hazard we advise you to click 3 or 4 times to ensure that you get into the scoring window (you are only allowed to click each potential hazard five times). This means you will need to click potential hazards as they arise and keep clicking at a controlled rate (half second intervals). The potential hazard will either turn dangerous or not, if it does you know that you have scored. Do not wait until the hazard makes you slow down or change direction as you must identify the hazard before this happens. This may mean up to six series of clicks being made in each clip. This is not a computer game and continuous and rapid clicking will issue you with a warning and your score in that film clip will not be counted.

You will be notified of the result of your test within 30 minutes of completing the test. If successful please keep your pass certificate safe as you will need to produce it when you take your Practical Test.

Your pass certificate is valid for two years from the date of successfully passing your test. This means that if you don’t pass the Practical Driving Test in this time you will have to retake the Theory and Hazard Perception Test.


There are five ways to prepare yourself for this part of the test:

We can sell or rent you an educational CD-ROM or DVD which uses some actual footage supplied by the DSA.
We have a dedicated learning centre in Launceston with up to date learning aids and professional tuition. This is a free benefit for Jenny Hayes School of Motoring learner drivers.
Driver commentary, using an experienced driver to identify simple hazards such as signs, road markings, etc. This would develop into explaining potential hazards, until you are able to start doing your own commentary.
By studying the DSA video and work book, ‘What If’ and ‘Road Sense’ in conjunction with an experienced driver.
Driving Instructor tuition offered as part of your driving lesson by Jenny Hayes School of Motoring

If you have a computer and chose to buy or rent our educational cd-rom, you will need to work through the entire package to be confident of passing the theory test. We suggest that you select 50 questions, then do a mock test. Repeat this until all the questions have been learnt. By doing mock tests in between the learning sessions you will continually be refreshing the already learnt questions. It will take between 10 and 20 hours to learn the complete bank of questions and answers.
Be certain that your learning materials are up to date as the test questions change every September. We are never told how many will change, it could be one or all of them. Make sure your learning materials cover the official DSA syllabus.

Many of the questions reappear in different format, for example the question could be differently worded or the answer becomes the question. This is done so that the DSA can be certain that you fully understand the question and answer.

How to Book

You can book up to two months in advance i.e. if you are 16 years 10 months you can pre book your test for on your 17th birthday.

Credit and Debit card holders call: 0870 0101 372

(Press **112 to bypass a long series of recorded messages!)

Online bookings at

You will need:

Your provisional driving licence number (begins with part or all of your surname)

Current address (even if different to that on your licence as this is where the confirmation will be sent out to)

Contact telephone number (mobile or land line)

Date of birth

Test centre of your choice. Locally these are at Barnstaple, Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance, Taunton and Truro.

Credit or Debit card details to pay �21.50 for a combined test (the card holder must be present)

If you need to cancel or change the test date or time you can do so without loss of fee up to four working days before the test. When booking your test, ask for the latest date of cancellation and make a note of it. You can cancel up to 6pm on that date.

If we booked your test on your behalf then any refund will be credited to the driving school account. if you have paid us we will then reimburse you.

You must take with you to your test both the photo card and paper licence or if you have the old style paper licence you must take your passport.

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